Claes Oldenburg - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Phillips
  • Literature

    David Platzker 10

  • Catalogue Essay

    “In October 1968, the Richard Feigen Gallery in Chicago organized an exhibition to protest mayor Richard J. Daley’s brutal response to demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention the previous August. I was asked to make a multiple object that could be sold to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union, which had handled the cases of those arrested. I wanted to make a sort of souvenir of the August events, the kind that is sold at airports or that one takes home from a carnival of a world’s fair and that is normally made out of painted plaster.

    The subject in this case would not be a Hancock Tower, but a humble subject that is a fixture in every neighborhood, a true multiple of the city – one of Chicago’s characteristic, chunky, red, two-headed fireplugs. The scale I chose was that of a cobblestone, something I associated with revolutionary activity, though the plan to throw one plug through the window to launch the exhibition was never realized. As I made Fire Plug Souvenir- ‘Chicago August 1968,’ it began to look somewhat like a teddy bear, and, like a stuffed animal, it could be set down in different ways. For the opening of the Feigen exhibition fifty of the plugs were arranged in different positions like an unruly crowd, and roses, which seemed a related shape, were scattered over them.” Claes Oldenburg quoted in Claes Oldenburg: Multiples in Retrospect 1964 – 1990, p.78


Fire Plug Souvenir - "Chicago August 1968" (P. 10)

Plaster sculpture painted in red.
8 3/8 x 7 1/2 x 8 in. (21.3 x 19.1 x 20.3 cm)
Signed with initials, numbered 87/100 in black marker, and stamped with initials, 'Chicago' and 'August 1968' on the underside (there was also an unknown number of artist's proofs), published by Richard Feigen Gallery, Chicago.

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $12,600

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Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 20 - 22 April 2021